I’ve only found a few YouTubers who I absolutely adore and who consistently vlog about writing, but the good ones are good, folks.
Kim Chance is one of my favorites. She’s the author of an upcoming young adult book called Keeper, which she’s currently querying to agents. And she’s just an all-around sweet and positive person, in her videos, on social media, and in email when I approached her about doing an interview. Take a load of these answers!
Can you share a little about yourself?
Hi all! My name is Kim, and I’m a 30-year-old military wife, twin mommy, and high school English/reading teacher.
Here are 10 fun/random facts about me!
1) I have a type A personality which means I am ridiculously organized and really enjoy making lists (bullet points make me happy) and color-coding things.
2) I ADORE red lipstick and polka dots. (If I had a time machine, I would travel back to the 40s in a heartbeat!)
3) My homemade mac and cheese is so good, it will make you want to slap your Mama!
4) I’m originally from Alabama, so I tend to talk in southern colloquialisms (see previous)! Side Note: Yes, I have all my teeth, and no, I did not marry my cousin. :)
5) My husband calls me “Muttley” because when I get to laughing really hard, hardly any sound comes out.
6) My favorite word in the English language is “irrevocable.” I love the way it rolls off the tongue. “Superfluous” is a close second.
7)I was once “hypnotized” at an event and sang “Oops, I Did It Again” it front of hundreds of people.
8) TV Shows I Fangirl Over: Outlander, Grey’s Anatomy, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Supernatural, Doctor Who, Reign, Downtown Abbey, & Once Upon a Time.
9) I cry during Disney movies — Every. Single. Time.
10) I like dinosaurs and zombies…just not together.
How did you get into creative writing?
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. Writing has always been something that I use to help me process the world around me. I have boxes of old journals and diaries I kept as a kid. However, I didn’t really get into creative writing until after I was married. My husband was deployed, and I spent a lot of time reading. I came up with an idea one day and a friend suggested I try writing it down. The rest is history!
You’re currently querying a novel called Keeper. What’s the book about?
Oh goodness! I am so terrible at describing it! Haha! I don’t know if it’s just me or what, but I have always struggled with this. Here’s my blurb:
Magic always leaves a mark.
When the ghost of a 200-year-old witch attacks her on the road, sixteen-year-old bookworm Lainey Styles is determined to find a logical explanation. But even with the impossible staring her in the face, Lainey refuses to buy in to all that “hocus pocus nonsense” — until she finds a photograph linking the witch to her dead mother.
After the library archives and even Google come up empty, Lainey gives in and consults a psychic. There she discovers that, like her mother, she’s a Keeper: a witch with the exclusive ability to unlock and wield the Grimoire, a dangerous spell book. But the Grimoire is missing, stolen years ago by a malevolent warlock known as the Master. Now that Lainey’s true heritage has been uncovered, she’s the Master’s only hope in opening the Grimoire, where a powerful spell is locked inside — a spell that would allow him to siphon away the world’s magic. In an effort to force her hand, the Master kidnaps Lainey’s uncle and offers a trade: the spell for his life.
With the help of her comic-book-loving, adventure-hungry best friend and an enigmatic but admittedly handsome street fighter, Lainey must leave behind her life of books and studying to prepare for the biggest test of all. She must steal back the book … before her uncle and the entire supernatural race pay the Master’s price.
What is one thing you have absolutely loved about the process of writing Keeper, and what’s one thing that’s been a challenge for you?
I think the thing I have loved the most is watching the story take on a life of its own. It’s come SO far since the original concept, and even from draft to draft it has truly evolved. I never thought I could write a story like this. It has pushed me and challenged me so much, but I am so incredibly proud of it.
As for the challenges … well, gosh! There were just so many! Haha! One thing I really struggled with was my own stubbornness. Last year, I had several people tell me that they were struggling to connect with my main character, Lainey — this was when the book was still written in 3rd person. It was suggested to me multiple times that 1st person would allow readers to get in her head more. However, I was super resistant to this. I’d always imagined the story in 3rd and thinking about rewriting it in a different POV freaked me out! I fought it for a really long time until my editor, who I respect highly, made the same suggestion. I realized that I needed to stop being so stubborn and try to look at things objectively. When I was able to do that, I saw just how right those early readers had been. I made the decision to rewrite my entire book in first-person, and I am so glad I did. It revolutionized my book and the story is a million times better this way. So don’t be afraid to take risks. They can really pay off in the end!
You maintain a YouTube channel where you share advice on writing and chronicle your journey with Keeper. What have you learned from your foray into vlogging?
I think the biggest thing I’ve taken away from vlogging is just how important it is for writers to find an active community to take part in. So many people have reached out to me and expressed how alone they felt until watching my vlogs and realizing that they weren’t the only ones feeling that way. Writing is so incredibly difficult and you need a support system. I’m happy to keep making videos if it means that I’m helping and supporting fellow writers.
I’ve also learned that you have to have some pretty thick skin. While 90% of my audience is incredibly kind and supportive, there are still those who go out of their way to be hateful and negative. I’m a super sensitive person, and it’s really hard not to get my feelings hurt when someone leaves a mean comment on one of my videos. I try not to take it personally though, and my own personal mantra is to always have courage and be kind. When people are ugly to me, I just make a point to pour out as much kindness into the world as I can. The world needs more kindness.
What advice would you give other writers looking to take the plunge and join YouTube?
Go for it! It’s a little intimidating putting yourself out there, but it’s also a lot of fun and super rewarding. My best advice is to be consistent, do your research so your content is quality, and put your personality into it! Also, don’t give up if your channel doesn’t take off right away. It takes time to build an audience. Be patient and don’t quit too soon!
You’re also active on social media — Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr. What best practices have you learned firsthand about engaging with these different communities?
Marketing yourself on social media takes a lot of time! I didn’t realize how time consuming it would be to keep so many different platforms updated and current. It’s so much fun connecting with people, but it also requires a lot of time and attention. My best advice is to pick 1-2 nights a week that you devote to social media. I’m always looking for people to chat with and I make sure to respond to everyone if I can. I adore being part of the writing community and I want everyone to feel included! I also make it a rule to not feed the trolls. I don’t respond to negativity unless I feel it’s absolutely necessary. There are better things I can do with my time. I also think consistency is key here as well.
Do you have any advice for writers who are a little puzzled over how to “brand” themselves as a writer on social media?
I think the word “brand” is a little scary sounding and confusing. What it really means (to me anyway) is making connections with people. The best thing you can do for yourself and your writing career is simply to strike up conversations with people! I am always on the lookout for new writerly friends and people I can talk to about my publishing journey. Be yourself and be authentic–don’t try to force something that isn’t you. It takes time to build a community (I like that word better than brand, don’t you?), but all it really takes is personality, conversation, and authenticity. Don’t be afraid to talk to people.
As for the more official “branding,” I would suggest creating a website and giving all of your social media pages the same design elements. I use the same profile picture for my pages and try to use similar design elements on each — this helps people to recognize me and make connections to things they may have seen on other pages. Cross-posting helps too.
I think it’s incredibly brave that you’re putting your efforts out there as you search for an agent and publisher for Keeper. A lot of writers would be afraid to take their journey public because so many of us fear failure. How do you overcome that fear? Is broadcasting what happens with Keeper about personal accountability (ie., a way to commit yourself to completing the book), or about something else?
I don’t know that I’ve necessarily overcome my fear. I just think my determination to see my dream realized is a lot bigger than any doubt or worry I might struggle with. I’m not special, really. I fear failure just like everyone else, but I think the difference is that I refuse to let that fear stand in my way. I think every writer just has to come to that place where they realize that the feeling of regret is far worse than taking a chance and not being successful. I would rather try and fail a thousand times than live my life knowing I let fear stop me from reaching my dreams.
As far as the videos go, there is a bit of personal accountability wrapped up in them, but it’s also about being honest and open in regards to the process. I think a lot writers feel very alone in their journey and I’m hoping by sharing my experiences that those writers will feel a sense of community. I have a heart for people, especially writers and I want to support and encourage as many as I can! We’re all in this together!
In your latest vlog, you talk about how you have often felt alone as a writer. I think a lot of writers are right there with you. If you could send a message to all the aspiring writers in the world, what would you tell them?
Remember, nothing worth having comes easy. I can’t promise you that you won’t face hardships. I can’t guarantee that you won’t want to quit a thousand different times. I won’t lie to you and tell you that everyone will always love your work — they won’t. And I certainly won’t tell you that this path is going to be simple — it’s not. BUT I can promise you that this journey is so worth it in the end! There is no greater feeling than finishing your manuscript and knowing that you’ve done what so many attempt, but never accomplish.
You are AMAZING, and the best advice I can give you is to keep writing and never give up! If you want something bad enough, you CAN achieve it. It takes hard work, but YOU CAN DO IT. I believe in you! Just remember this: Dreams don’t work unless you do! So, never stop writing! Never give up, never give in! You got this!